The Taj of the Deccan, mini Taj, poor man’s Taj Mahal – the beautiful Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad has many names. When I saw the monument for the first time one year ago, I was strapped for time – after visiting the astounding Ellora caves I had only several hours in the city before catching a train back to Mumbai. The silhouette of the opulent monument was rapidly fading away in the dusk, leaving me with a strong feeling of wanting to see more. Although the structure bears an undeniable resemblance to the Taj Mahal, which I’ve seen in the very beginning of my Indian Odyssey, it definitely has a character of its own.
During my second visit to Aurangabad I made sure to give the monument its due by exploring it thoroughly and savouring slowly.
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Bibi Ka Maqbara quick facts
The 6th Mughal emperor Aurangzeb authorized the construction of the monument in honour of his 1st wife Rabia-ud-Daurani. The structure was designed by Ata-ullah, who drew inspiration from his talented father – the chief designer of theTaj Mahal.
It took only one year to build Bibi Ka Maqbara – from 1660 to 1661, whereas the construction of the Taj Mahal took the time span of 20 years of continuous work.
Auragzeb granted only 700 thousand rupees for the construction of the mausoleum, which is approximately one eightieth the price his father Shah Jahan spent to build the Taj Mahal. Apparently Aurangzeb had a contempt for his father’s luxurious lifestyle and uncontrollable spending, so he wouldn’t deplete the royal treasury for the sake of a tomb, even if it’s the most beautiful one in the world.
Bibi Ka Baqbara, which stands for “Tomb of the Lady” in English, is the only monument Aurangzeb raised during 49 years of his reign, except for the tiny but charming Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) inside the Red Fort complex in Delhi.
Like the majority of tombs in India, the monument is constructed on a square platform with minarets on each corner. Unlike the Taj, Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad wasn’t entirely built of marble. Neither it was constructed of red sandstone, like the earlier Mughal buildings. The lower portion of the mausoleum’s walls and the central dome was made of marble, whereas for the other parts of the structure they used basaltic trap. The edifice is adorned with elaborate stucco designs.
Traditionally, the complex is laid out on the middle of a formal garden
The photos of Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad
My first visit to the monument was disappointing not only because of lack of time, but also because the battery of my camera was drained after hundreds of pictures I took in the Ellora caves. That Instagram photo you see in the beginning of this post was one of the few I managed to click. Upon revisiting the mausoleum, I managed to make it up for my lack of vision, and at this very moment I’m controlling myself not to post all the pictures straight off 🙂
You may have noticed that I have a soft spot for roses, that’s why there was no chance these beauties from the Bibi Ka Maqbara garden would go unnoticed. In spite of being impatient to have a closer look at the monument, I stopped near the flower beds to “smell the roses” 🙂
Bibi Ka Maqbara travel tips
- The monument is open every day from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
- The ticket price is Rs 15 for Indian visitors and Rs 200 for foreign nationals.
- Photography is free of charge.
- Bibi Ka Maqbara address – Begumpura, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 431004. It’s 7 km from the Aurangabad railway station and is easily reachable by auto-rickshaw.
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